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16 Best of the Best Full-Size Pistols From ‘Combat Handguns’ in 2016

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Full-size pistols bring a reliable, hard-hitting effectiveness that is tough to match.



The previous year saw a number of releases that quickly made their mark in the full-size pistol category. From impeccable accuracy to exceptional ergonomics, each handgun on this list has something unique to offer.



Read below and scroll through the gallery above for Combat Handguns magazine‘s best full-size pistols of 2016.


C&S Modern Classic


The Modern Classic is designed to be a retro pistol that is suitable for daily carry and personal defense. As such, several changes were made from the anniversary gun. The most noticeable enhancements are the hardball fixed sights. The rear sight is an elevated fixed blade while the front sight is a dovetailed post. As expected, the base of the front sight has been contoured to the radius of the slide, making the seam almost invisible. The checkered slide stop was replaced with a modern serrated version and the hammer and grip safety are the same configuration as found on the 1911A1. Since this is a defensive pistol, the original-style thumb safety was replaced with a C&S extended safety. (cylinder-slide.com; 402-721-4277)


Colt Delta Elite


Introduced in 1987, the Delta Elite is the original 1911 to be chambered in the 10mm cartridge. This time-tested Colt uses a Series 70 mechanism as well as a standard grip safety and thumb safety. This gun is old-school for sure, but it’s built to be reliable. The Colt Delta Elite uses a dual spring recoil system, which Colt also uses in the CQBP Marine pistol, to help dampen felt recoil. Additional old-school styling includes an arched mainspring housing and rounded, Commander-style hammer. (colt.com; 800-962-2658)


CZ P-09


It would be tough to find a better value in suppressor-ready handguns than the P-09 from CZ. These pistols include many of the sought-after features users want in a combat handgun, such as adjustable grip size, an accessory rail and high capacity. With the company’s Omega trigger and the 5.23-inch threaded barrel, a lot of shooters will find this CZ fits them just right. (cz-usa.com; 800-955-4486)


EAA Polymer Witness Elite 1911s


European American Armory (EAA) Corp. is now offering polymer-framed, single-stack 1911 pistols in its Witness Elite series. They’re similar to that of the classic 1911 with the same dimensions and technical characteristics while being incredibly lightweight. Made by Tanfoglio, these pistols maintain the tradition of the original 1911’s with their slim designs and powerful .45 ACP chamberings, plus they have lightened frames molded from the finest polymer. EAA is offering a Government model in .45 ACP, Commander models in 9mm or .45 ACP and Officer’s models in 9mm and .45 ACP. (eaacorp.com; 321-639-4842)


FNS-40 Longslide


In research and development testing, FNH USA put over 400,000 rounds through its FNS Longslide series pistols, so you can be sure that they are reliable and accurate. Like its 9mm brethren, the FNS-40 Longslide is built for speed with a striker-fired system, ambidextrous controls, a 5-inch barrel and three-dot sights. Users can customized the polymer grip frame to fit their hand better with interchangeable backstraps. For more information, (fnamerica.com; 703-288-3500)


Glock 40 Gen4 In MOS Configuration


The G40 Gen4 in MOS Configuration is designed for hunting with a 6-inch barrel to get the most velocity from the 10mm round. Glock’s new Modular Optic System (MOS) pistols have slides that can accept a variety of reflex sights. Also, since this is a Gen4 model, the pistol comes with interchangeable backstraps so shooters can find the perfect fit. The G40 Gen4 in MOS Configuration has a 15+1 capacity and weighs only 28.15 ounces. (glock.com; 770-432-1202)


Jesse James Cisco 1911


Jesse James started as a metal worker and welder. Early in his career, he identified a need for a fat-tire motorcycle fender and built one. He expanded into custom-built parts and eventually motorcycles, ultimately creating West Coast Choppers. As you probably already know, Jesse’s custom motorcycles are some of the most sought after in the world. Jesse went from welder to custom builder to television star. Following that fame, Jesse vanished from the mainstream, leaving California for Austin, Texas. Happily settled into his new digs, he has been quietly building his next venture: Jesse James Firearms Unlimited, or JJFU.


The Cisco is Jesse James’ entry-level custom pistol. Our test pistol was built using a JEM Guns frame and an STI slide. The Master-series frame has an extended dust cover without a rail. It is nicely shaped to match the slide. The grip features 30-lines-per-inch checkering and is high cut with a slightly beveled magazine well. JEM matches its grip safeties and mainspring housings to its lowers, and both were used here. Jesse machines his own grips from 6061-T6 aluminum. Grooves appear at the top and bottom of the grip, matching the rear cocking serrations. The gun’s internals are made of tool steel—no MIM parts here—and they’re all fitted by hand. The safety is ambidextrous while the magazine release appears slightly extended. The grip safety is extended beneath a skeletonized hammer. (jjfu.com; 888-269-0666)


Kimber Custom TLE/RL II


The Custom TLE (Tactical Law Enforcement) series of pistols are built to perform thanks to their match-grade barrel and bushing and trigger pulls set at 4 to 5 pounds. Built with a steel frame, the 30-lines-per-inch (lpi) checkering on the front grip strap ensures an operator retains positive control during rapid fire. The pistol uses a firing-pin block that is deactivated by depressing the grip safety. The three-dot tritium night sights offer enhanced target acquisition in low-light environments. (kimberamerica.com; 888-243-4522)


Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX


The Desert Eagle Mark XIX is one heck of a long-slide powerhouse. This particular .50 AE pistol is made of stainless steel. The 6-inch barrel features an integral muzzle brake to tame this beast by controlling muzzle flip and reducing felt recoil. Also new are top and bottom Picatinny rails to mount optics or accessories. (magnumresearch.com; 508-635-4273)


Nighthawk Custom AAC Recon


Beauty and performance come together at Nighthawk Custom to produce the AAC Recon. This 1911-style pistol uses a match-grade, threaded barrel along with Aluma-Grips, Heinie suppressor sights and dehorning work to produce a top-tier handgun. No detail is overlooked on the AAC Recon. (nighthawkcustom.com; 877-268-4867)


Ruger SR 1911


The 1911 design has inspired countless modern variations and among the very best and most affordable is the Ruger SR 1911. Essentially a Government Model right down to the early-style flat mainspring housing, the Series 70-based SR 1911 offers custom features including an extended beavertail safety, a skeletonized aluminum trigger with over travel adjustment, skeletonized hammer and 8+1 capacity. The thumb safety, mainspring housing, beavertail safety and slide release are finished in a matte blue/black, contrasting the matte stainless slide and frame. (ruger.com)


Springfield Armory XDM 5.25


The XDM 5.25 is bred for competition. Not only do the longer barrel and sight radius and fiber-optic front sight endear it to better accuracy, but its striker-fired system offers a crisp trigger that nearly mimics a single-action trigger pull. The accuracy of the XDM 5.25 is further enhanced with a one-piece, full-length guide rod. (springfield-armory.com; 800-680-6866)


STI Eagle


The Eagle was the pistol that helped build STI’s reputation and prove the performance of the double-stack, steel-frame 2011 platform. The 6-inch-barreled version features the 2011 frame with a short dust cover. The pistol features a flared magazine well, an extended beavertail, an skeletonized trigger, an ambidextrous thumb safety and a 15-round magazine. (stiguns.com; 512-819-0656)


S&W M&P9 Threaded Barrel Kit


Smith & Wesson offers a great degree of flexibility with the M&P9 Threaded Barrel Kit. Included in one kit are both a threaded barrel and a standard duty barrel. This allows a citizen, officer or service member to change the gun to meet the need with no more than a quick field-strip. The magazines hold 17 rounds of 9mm and the swappable palm swell grips offer great ergonomics. (smith-wesson.com; 800-331-0852)


Walther PPQ M2 SD


Walther pistols are well known for exceptional ergonomics and striker-fired triggers. This PPQ M2 SD retains those features and adds a threaded barrel for suppressor use. This specific pistol was designed by Walther to fire underwater and has firing mechanism components not found on other PPQ pistols. (waltherarms.com; 479-242-8500)


Wilson/Bravo BCMGUNFIGHTER 1911


Wilson Combat and Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) have teamed up to create the BCMGUNFIGHTER 1911, a pistol that handles like a race gun but delivers the high-quality, tough-as-nails features both companies are known for. Features include VZ G10 grips with X-tread pattern checkering for control, a light rail, a Bullet Proof mag well, a solid trigger, a tritium front sight and finally Wilson’s renowned Armor-Tuff finish. (wilsoncombat.com; 800-955-4856)


The post 16 Best of the Best Full-Size Pistols From ‘Combat Handguns’ in 2016 appeared first on Tactical Life Gun Magazine: Gun News and Gun Reviews.


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